Healthy and Balanced Weekly Whole Foods Meal Plan on a Budget

Healthy and Balanced Weekly Whole Foods Meal Plan on a Budget

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Whole Foods Meal Plans For The Week

Do you want to change your eating habits and start eating healthy?
Do you want to eat seafood, meat, eggs; fruit, and vegetables; natural fats, spices, herbs, and seasonings?
Do you want to eat whole foods with a recognizable or straightforward list of ingredients?
If so, Start with the Healthy Eating Checklist below, then learn how to prepare whole foods and start preparing the meal plans for the week with the whole foods you can find bellow.

It’s natural for us to pick foods we crave as a comfort after a long day at work, but you have to realize that if you make the wrong kind of food choices, you might add to your stress levels in the long run. Choose whole foods instead and reap the long-term rewards they have to offer!

Healthy Eating Check List

 

Decide on a program. Choose the healthy eating or weight loss program you believe to be the best for you based on your budget, other family members, whole foods meal preparation responsibilities, convenience, and time.

For example, you may believe smoothies and soups are the way to go, but that may not be realistic if you’re the one who prepares most of the meals for your family. You end with double the work, not to mention the temptation of wanting to eat both your family meal and your smoothie.

Set goals for weight loss. It’s overwhelming to think you have 50 pounds to lose. It’s not such a challenge to believe you have two pounds to lose per week for the next 6 months.

Determine what whole foods are allowable. Then figures out which are special treats and which are not on your program. You can find these lists online. Download to your smartphone to know what you can and can’t eat, even if you’re out with friends for lunch.

Clean out your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. That way, you won’t be tempted. Give nonperishable whole foods to a food bank or church. Throw away any whole foods that aren’t on your program. If you hope to get your family on the same eating program, gradually get rid of food, which isn’t on your list. That way, you can just say that you’re out of potato chips, for example. Eventually, all the food in your house will be healthy.

Grab your local grocery store ad section of the newspaper. Or go online for the weekly specials. The new specials usually come out on Wednesday with special deals for Thursday and Friday.

Make a seven-day menu program for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day based on what’s on sale and your whole foods program.

Post the menu on the fridge or cabinet in plain view. Everyone will know exactly what’s for dinner.

Check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for necessary items based on your menus. You don’t want to find a critical thing missing at the last minute.

Go grocery shopping. The vest time is after a meal. Studies show shoppers are less likely to impulse buy when they’re not hungry. Shop for the entire week. The fewer times you shop, the less temptation you’ll face.

Prep and wash fruits and vegetables. Cut up veggies and package in serving-size snack bags. Do the same thing with your allowable snacks. It’s easy to finish an entire bag of pretzels if you’re not paying attention.

Make the next few day’s meals. An excellent day to do this is on the weekend. You’ll get a head start on the week. No falling for fast food because you’re tired and hungry after a hard day’s work.

Announce your commitment to healthy eating. Tell friends and family what your goals are. Post on your social media pages. Accountability helps you stay on track. Ignore those who are non-supportive.

Locate support groups online and through social media and forums. Not only does this keep you accountable, but you’ll also probably pick up tips and tricks to keep you going.

Track your progress. Announce your weight loss achievements. Or how you’ve stuck to your new healthy eating program. Discuss the differences in how you feel. For example, do you have more energy?

Each week review how you did, what your stumbling blocks were, and your successes. Did you dislike any of the recipes you prepared, or were some of your favorites? 

One Week Healthy Whole Foods Meal Plan

1 ) How to prepare Grains

Weekly Meal Plans on a Budget

Whole grains are a mainstay of the entire whole foods eating program.
Cook at least 1 cup of raw grains and freeze any leftovers. Reheat in the microwave or broth.
Instead of water, use chicken broth, vegetable, or beef broth. Add seasonings as well for extra flavor.

Use this table to prepare them correctly

Grain Amount to Cook Boiling Water Time to Cook Special Instruc. Cooked grain
Barley 1 cup 3 cups Simmer 45 min. 3 cups
Bulgur Wheat 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 10 min. Stand 10 min. 3 cups
Cornmeal 1 cup 3 ¾ cups Simmer 15 min. 3 ¼ cups
Cracked wheat 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 20 min. 2 ½ cups
Hominy grits 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 15 min. 4 cups
Kasha 1 cup 2 cups Simmer10 min 3 ¼ cups
Millet 1 cup 2 ¼ cups Simmer 30 min. Cook covered 3 ½ cups
Brown rice 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 35 min. Cook covered 3 cups
White rice 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 20 min. 3 cups
Rolled oats 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 10 min. 1 ¾ cups
Steel cut oats 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 20 min. 2 ½ cups
Quinoa 1 cup 1 ¾ cups Simmer 12 min. Stand 10 min. 3 ½ cups
Wild rice 1 cup 3 cups Simmer 40 min. 4 cups
Wheat berries 1 cup 2 cups Simmer 40 min. 2 ½ cups

 

2) How to prepare  Legumes

How to prepare  Legumes

Legumes are a mainstay of the Whole Foods Program, adding protein and fiber. Making your beans is easy but does take a little planning. You must prep the beans. Soak the beans overnight covered with 2 inches of water. Drain and then cook as below

Or if you forgot to soak the beans the night before, place the beans in a saucepan. Cover with at least 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the beans set in hot water for 60 minutes. Drain, then cook as below. Beans should be soft but not mushy.

Use this table to prepare them correctly

Legume  Amount of raw Coldwater Simmer Time Amount cooked after draining
Black beans 1 cup 3 cups 1 hour 2 ½ cups
Black-eyed peas 1 cup 3 cups 1 – 1½ hours 3 cups
Chickpeas also garbanzo beans 1 cup 3 cups 1 – ½ hours 2 ½  cups
Cowpeas 1 cup 3 cups 1 hour 3 cups
Great Northern white beans 1 cup 3 cups 45 minutes 2 2/3 cups
Lentils 1 cup 3 cups 20 – 25 min. 3 cups
Lima beans, butter beans 1 cup 3 cups 45 – 60 min. 2 ½ cups
Navy beans 1 cup 3 cups 1 ½ hour 3 cups
Pigeon peas 1 cup 3 cups 45 – 75 min. 3 cups
Pink beans 1 cup 3 cups 1 hour 3 cups
Pinto beans 1 cup 3 cups 45-60 min. 2 ½ cups
Red kidney beans 1 cup 3 cups 45 -75 min. 2 ½ cups
Split green peas 1 cup 4 cups 30 minutes 2 cups
Cannellini 1 cup 3 cups 45 – 75 min. 2 ½ cups

 

3) How to Build a Meal in a Bowl

Build a Meal in a Bowl

You’ve probably heard of, or even ordered, a rice or noodle bowl. Even fast-food restaurants are offering “bowls.” And after all, what’s a salad but a meal in a bowl?

This concept works incredibly well on the Whole Foods program. Fill the bowl with whole grains, top with protein, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and throw on a sauce for flavor. Yes, it takes a bit of work and planning ahead, but the results are well worth it.

You can complete all the prep work a day or a few days before. For example, let’s say you’re serving baked chicken breast on Monday. Make an extra breast or two. Slice and save for a bowl dinner on Thursday. It then is only a matter of minutes getting the meal on the table. Offer the ingredients in separate bowls so family members can pile on what they like or bring the completed bowls to the table, so everyone gets a fair share of each ingredient.

Choose a base from whole grains.
Then a protein
Add greens
Then a vegetable or two or three, the star of a Whole Foods Meal in a Bowl.
You’re well on your way to a tasty meal, but like a basic black dress, you need some finishing accessories like seeds, nuts, herbs, and savory tidbits.
Mix the base with about half the sauce, so the bowl is flavored to the bottom. Pile on the ingredients, then drizzle more sauce over the completed bowl.

Base Greens Proteins Veggies Sauce Seeds/nuts Herbs Savory
Barley romaine chicken carrots red pepper peanuts parsley pickles
Bulgur kale beans peas vinaigrette cashews thyme pretzels
Kasha arugula turkey celery yogurt almonds basil corn chips
Millet watercress tofu zucchini romesco sunflower rosemary panko
Brown Rice cabbage shrimp parsnips chimichurri pumpkin dill croutons
Wild Rice spinach salmon tomatoes pesto sesame oregano feta
Quinoa chard egg peppers teriyaki pine nuts cilantro parmesan
Lentils bok choy tempeh broccoli sweet-sour macadamia chives olives
Farro rapini split peas mushrooms sriracha flax rosemary
Noodles frisee beef avocado salsa chia sage

 

Healthy Whole Foods Menu for a Week

Below you will find 7 Bountiful Breakfasts, 7 Luscious Lunches, and 7 Delicious Dinners.

What isn’t on the list is minimal. Don’t use white sugar, white flour, or pasta. Oils are limited to vegetable oils such as almond, avocado, olive, and coconut. Don’t use processed whole foods. Limit fast foods to salads with the dressing on the side.

When dining out, ask the waitperson to tell the chef no butter – many restaurants douse the entrée with melted butter for extra flavor.

Breakfast Recipes and Meal Ideas for The Week

Weekly Meal Plan Ideas

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. And yet many of us skip or scrimp on this meal. No matter what eating program you’re on, breakfast doesn’t have to be an ordeal to make or eat. 

1.Eggs Florentine

You won’t miss the hollandaise sauce in this almost classic egg dish. Poach the eggs ahead of time or the night before. Reheat in boiling water for 60 seconds. The spinach adds a pleasant bitterness to the richness of the eggs. Potatoes take the place of the English muffin. 

Two Servings

Ingredients :

2 medium white potatoes 

1 package fresh or frozen spinach

4 eggs

2 teaspoons olive oil

Parsley

Preparation:

Scrub and peel the potatoes. Boil the whole potatoes until easily pierced with a fork but not mushy or soft. The texture should be about the same as if you were making potato salad. 

Defrost the spinach and squeeze dry. The more moisture you remove, the better. If using fresh spinach, cook in the microwave until wilted, then squeeze dry. 

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Slip in the 4 eggs. Swirl the water. This centers the yolk in the white. Bring back to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the whites are white and not translucent, and the yolk is thickened and a darker yellow. Exactly how long depends on how cold the eggs were, to begin with. 

Cut the potatoes into 6 slices. Arrange 3 slices in a circle, overlapping just a bit. You should have two circles of potatoes for each person. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the potatoes. This is the base for the spinach. Pile the spinach on the potatoes. Make an indentation into the spinach to hold the egg. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the spinach. Place the egg in the indentation. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with olive oil and serve—salt and pepper to taste.

2. Super Strawberry Smoothie

The almond butter might seem odd in a smoothie, but it adds protein and richness to the smoothie, so it’s satisfying. Add a scoop of pea protein for added protein. Instead of almond butter, use peanut butter and swap out the strawberries for bananas. 

Two Servings

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

2 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup almond milk

1 cup of coconut milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

A handful of ice cubes

3. Breakfast Tacos

Welcome the day with this South of the Border taste treats. Instead of tortillas, eggs wrap the veggies tucked inside. Think of the wraps as thin egg pancakes. Save any leftover salsa in the fridge. 

Two Servings

4 eggs

1 cup assorted veggies such as onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, or string beans

1 cup canned or cooked from scratch black or pinto beans

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon cumin 

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 

Salsa

2 large tomatoes

1 small jicama (about 1/4 to 1/3 lb)

1 bunch scallions

1 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 jalapeno

Whisk the eggs with ¼ teaspoon of the red pepper flakes. Add ¼ of the egg mixture to a nonstick 7″ skillet. Cook until set about a minute or two, then flip over and cook the other side for a minute or so. Remove the egg wrap from the pan and cook three more wraps. Four eggs should make four wraps.

Chop the vegetables into ½ inch chunks and saute until somewhat softened but still crisp. Sprinkle with the remaining chili flakes, cumin, and oregano.

Roughly chop the ingredients for the salsa except for the jalapeno. Mince the jalapeno. Add ½ teaspoon to one tablespoon of the jalapeno to the salsa, depending on how spicy you like your salsa. 

Assemble the tacos by spreading the hot veggie mixture over the egg wrap. Salt and pepper to taste

Add a tablespoon of salsa. Fold in half and enjoy. Prepare the tacos without the salsa the day before, then reheat in the morning, adding the salsa when hot. 

4. Chia Pudding with Fruit

Talk about easy and yummy; this breakfast pudding takes less than two minutes to put together. The trick is to refrigerate overnight, so the chia seeds absorb the nut milk creating the pudding texture.

Two Servings

¼ cup chia seeds

1 cup nut milk or whole dairy milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries

Clean and slice the strawberries. Combine the chia seeds, nut milk, vanilla extract, and strawberries. Divide equally into two 8 ounce containers. Refrigerate overnight. 

Try blueberries and lemon extract for a change of pace or raspberries and almond extract.

5. Frittatas Solve the Breakfast Challenge

Make a big batch, and you’ll have several breakfasts ready to go. Frittatas are simply a baked egg casserole with vegetables and cheese. Cut into serving-size pieces and freeze. These are good hot or at room temperature. 

Eight Servings

8 eggs

½ cup whole milk

½ to 1 cup grated cheese

Whisk the above ingredients together. 

Add 1 cup of cooked diced vegetables, 1 cup cooked diced potatoes either sweet or white, and 3 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs.  

Spread in a nonstick 13X9 baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting the blade of a knife in the center of the frittata. It should come out clean with no egg clinging to it. 

Try asparagus, goat cheese and tarragon or peas, cheddar cheese, and parsley. Another option is corn, pepper jack cheese, and cilantro. 

6. Chunky Avocado Cold Soup

Well, of course, it’s cold. Have you ever cooked or eaten hot avocados? Probably not. If you want to boost the protein, add chopped chicken or turkey or even a hard-boiled egg. Tofu would work as well. 

Two Servings

1 large avocado

1 large tomato

1 small cucumber

1 sweet pepper

½ small red onion

Juice of one lime

1 cup no salt added vegetable broth

Chop the vegetables. Put half in the blender and puree. Add the broth and lime juice. Puree again. Add the other half of the chopped veggies. Serve icy cold. Add some hot sauce if you like. Salt and pepper to taste.

7. Overnight Apple Pie Pudding

If something sweet but still healthy is what you crave to start your day, this whole foods dish is for you. Cinnamon and spice and everything nice are in your wakeup call.

Two Servings

½ cup rolled oatmeal (not quick or instant)

1 cup nut milk or whole milk

1 apple 

¼ cup walnuts

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Sprinkle of cinnamon

1 tablespoon dried apples

Chop the fresh and dried apples into ½ inch dice. Combine with the oatmeal, milk, walnuts, lemon zest and cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight so the oatmeal absorbs the milk and flavors. Eat cold

Lunch Recipes and One Week Meal Plan

One Week Whole Foods Meal Plan

Soup, salads, and wraps are great for lunch. If you are packing your lunch, invest in a wide-mouthed thermos to keep the soup hot. Fill the thermos with boiling water, let stand for 10 minutes, then drain and fill with piping hot soup. 

A quart glass canning jar does an excellent job of keeping your salad fresh. Layer the ingredients starting with the salad dressing on the bottom, then beans, chickpeas, chopped vegetables, ending with the greens on top, that way, they won’t get limp from the dressing. Right before eating, give the jar a fair shake to toss the ingredients with the dressing. Eat right out of the jar – using a fork, of course.

1. Potato Leek Soup

If you put this soup in a blender and serve it cold, it’s vichyssoise. 

If you prefer a more rustic version, leave it chunky and serve hot. The half and half adds a creamy richness, but it’s optional

Two – Three Servings

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes 

2 bunches of leeks

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon

¼ cup chopped chervil

4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup half and a half (optional) Use coconut cream instead

Sour cream to garnish (optional)

Peel the potatoes and dice in ½ inch chunks

Clean the leeks by slicing in half then running cold water through the halves to remove any sand or dirt. Chop the white and very light green part of the leeks in ¼ slices. 

Put the leeks and potatoes in the broth and simmer until the potatoes are soft. Remove half of the potatoes and leeks and puree in a blender then return to the soup. Add the half and half and reheat. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream. 

2 Asian Meatball Soup

Garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds flavor the chicken meatballs. Make a batch from the entire pound of ground chicken and reserve the extras for another meal. 

1 pound organic ground chicken

3 cloves garlic

1 ½ tablespoon when peeled and minced

Splash of soy sauce

1 bunch scallions

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Mince the garlic. Mince the white parts of the scallion. Add both to the ground chicken with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Form into 12 meatballs. 

Two to Three Servings

4 cups no salt added chicken broth

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup sliced daikon radish

1 can water chestnuts

11 clove minced garlic

T teaspoon minced ginger\

Splash of soy sauce

Combine the broth, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and bring back to the spot. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through about 15 minutes. Check one of the meatballs by cutting it open. There should be no pink. The meatballs add lots of flavor to the broth as they cook. 

Remove all the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

Add the carrots, peas, and radishes to the broth and bring back to a boil. Simmer about 5 minutes. Add around 4 to 6 meatballs (2 per serving) meatballs to reheat. 

Turn this into a vegan whole foods dish by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth and tofu for the chicken meatballs. 

3. Five Onion Soup 

You’ve heard of French onion soup, of course, rich and decadent with the melted cheese topping and toasted bread. This soup gives you all the flavor but none of the fat. Go ahead and add a sprinkle of cheese over the top. You deserve it. 

Two to Three Servings

1 each large but not huge, white, yellow, and red onions. 

1 bunch scallions

2 leeks 

3 cloves of garlic

2 medium shallots

1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil

5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

Chop, slice, and dice the first five ingredients. Make sure you rinse the leeks thoroughly. Sand and dirt have a tendency to hide in the layers. Use the white and very light green parts of the scallions and leeks. 

Heat the oil in a broad sauté pan, large enough, so the onions are in a single layer. Add the onions, leeks, scallions, garlic, and shallots. Cook over low to medium heat until the mixture starts to brown. Watch carefully because onions burn easily. This may take up to 20 minutes.

Transfer the onions to a saucepan. Rinse out the sauté pan and scrape up any brown bits. They’ll add lots of flavors. Add the broth to the onions and simmer for 30 minutes. 

4. Fruit Salad With Tofu and Avocado Dressing

The avocado melts into the lime juice so you don’t need to add any oil, although you could if you wanted to, of course. 

Two Servings

1 avocado

Juice of one lime, at least 2 tablespoons

½ package of tofu drained

1 cup of grapes

½ cup almonds

¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds

3 cups chopped greens, such as kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach

Mash the avocado with one tablespoon of the lime juice. Halve the grapes. Chop the orange and apple into ½ inch chunks. Slice the tofu into ½ inch slices and then again into ½ inch chunks. Add to the avocado-lime juice dressing along with the other tablespoon of lime juice. 

Place 1 ½ cups greens in a bowl. Spoon the avocado fruit mixture over the greens. Sprinkle half the almonds and half the pumpkin seeds over each of the servings. 

5. Minestrone Salad  

Yes, you read that right. This classic Italian soup dish easily becomes a crisp salad. 

Make a double batch of the ingredients for more than one lunch. The salad is almost better the second day, and the flavors meld. You could serve the chopped salad mixture over a bed of greens if you wish. 

Two Servings

½ cup garbanzo beans

½ cup cannellini beans 

½ cup each chopped celery, carrots, and tomatoes

½ cup each cooked string beans, peas, and corn

½ cup cooked whole wheat pasta

2 garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons each fresh parsley, basil, oregano

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

¼ cup minced red onion

4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Combine the first ingredients up to the garlic cloves. Mince the garlic cloves and add to the olive oil, vinegar, herbs, fennel seeds, minced onion, and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese Mix well. Sprinkle an additional tablespoon of parmesan cheese over each serving. 

6. Beet, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad in Lettuce Wraps

An elegant salad served inside lettuce wraps instead of on a bed of lettuce. Add your favorite herbs to change up the flavor. 

Two Servings

6 medium beets

½ cup walnut pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 ounces goat cheese

6 to 8 lettuce leaves

Scrub the beets and roast in a 350-degree oven until soft. Slip off the skin and slice thinly. Then Julien the slice – cut into match stick size – beets. 

Crush the walnut pieces into smaller chunks. Add to the beets along with the goat cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. 

Flatten the lettuce leaves. Use two to three leaves for each wrap. Place a few tablespoons of the beet mixture on each set of leaves near one edge. Roll up tightly. 

7. Wrap It Up With Veggie Wraps

If you’re taking these for lunch at work, wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap, so it stays wrapped. 

Two Servings

1 bunch of scallions

½ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped dill weed

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ cup each shredded carrots, zucchini, and celery

¼ cup each of sesame seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Splash of lemon juice

 

Pliable lettuce leaves such as butter

Finely slice the white and very light green part of the scallions. Finely chop the dill weed and parsley. Combine with the lemon zest and the shredded vegetables. 

Layout the lettuce leaves and gently flatten. 

Spread ¼ of the on veggies mixture over a lettuce leaf. If the leaves are small, you may need two leaves for each wrap. This makes 4 wraps. Two wraps are a serving.  

Roll up the leaves pressing firmly on the lettuce to keep the filling inside.

 

Dinner Recipes and Ideas for Healthy and Balanced Meal Plan for a Week

Healthy and Balanced Whole Foods Meal Plan for a Week

Don’t think you have to crunch on carrots or eat bushels of greens on the whole foods diet. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen either with these recipes. For variety, we give you Meatless Monday, Time Saving Tuesday, World Wide Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday, Fun Friday, Souper Saturday, and Splendid Sundays. 

If you don’t like an ingredient, feel free to substitute another. Take, for example, swamp out the kale for spinach. These recipes are gluten-free, with no added sugar and no added fat with the exception that olive, avocado, or coconut oil is used to saute the ingredients in some recipes or as a salad dressing.

1. Meatless Monday Quality Time With Quinoa

A cross between a salad and a pasta dish this dish combines the benefits of both. It is fast, flavorful, and filling. Quinoa has lots of protein and a somewhat nutty flavor. The tomatoes and lemon juice add brightness, the walnuts – crunch, and the baby spinach a pleasant bitterness. Have all ingredients chopped and ready to go as soon as the quinoa is cooked. This dish with a whole foods can be made in less than 30 minutes. 

Four Servings 

1 cup quinoa 

2 cups of water

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 bag baby spinach leaves, you could use regular spinach but if you do, chop the leaves

1 cup walnut pieces

¼ to ½ cup olive oil

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

¼ cup lemon juice

Add one tablespoon lemon juice to the water and bring to a boil. Immediately add the quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside covered for five minutes. Then fluff with a fork. Do NOT let it cool. You need the heat to wilt the spinach. 

Place the rest of the ingredients, including the two tablespoons of reserved lemon juice, in a large bowl, saving about ½ cup cherry tomatoes and ¼ cup walnuts for garnish. Toss with the still very hot quinoa. Serve immediately. Garnish with the reserved cherry tomatoes and walnuts. A fresh fruit salad completes the meal. 

2. Time Saving Tuesday – Citrus Chicken

Chicken is one of those entries that can get boring quickly. How many chickens, rice, and mushroom casseroles can you eat anyway? 

The advantages of chicken include it’s relatively cheap, tastes good, and cooks quickly. Here’s a recipe that is adaptable for any season. The tang of the citrus brings out the best in the chicken. The herbs add a fresh note and more flavor. If you don’t like garlic, use scallions instead. Change the citrus and herbs and it’s a brand new whole foods dish. 

Four Servings

4 organic free-range chicken breasts, 4 thighs or 4 drumsticks

 1 orange

 2 lemons

 2 limes

 1 pink grapefruit

 4 slices of citrus fruit

 1/2 cup chopped herbs, sage, cilantro, parsley, or tarragon

 3 cloves chopped garlic

 salt and pepper to taste

This dish with whole foods includes all four citrus fruits. However, you could use only one fruit and herb, such as lemon and tarragon for a French whole foods dish, limes, and cilantro for Southwest flavor — add a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, or orange and sage. 

Zest the fruit, leaving the white pith. That’s bitter and won’t add any flavor. Squeeze the citrus fruit until you have at least 1 cup of juice. Add the zest, garlic, and chopped herbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade. 

Pull the skin away from the chicken. You want the marinade to bath the chicken meat. Add the marinade. Push some of the herbs, zest, and garlic under the skin. Refrigerate for a minimum of four hours up to overnight. 

Now you have your choice of cooking methods. Pull the skin back over the chicken meat. The skin keeps the meat moist. Brown in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Lower the heat and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, the juices run clear and the meat is no longer opaque. Or brown the chicken then transfer to a slow-cooker with the marinade. Add enough chicken broth to cover the meat. Cook for four to eight hours depending on your slow-cooker. 

Or put the chicken straight from the fridge into a baking pan. Add the marinade. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken skin before serving if you like. 

Serve with baby potatoes. Add the reserved marinade to the potatoes before serving.  

Plate the chicken adding a slice of the citrus fruit on top as a garnish. This dish with whole foods is good with peas, fresh string beans, or asparagus.

A side salad of citrus slices, cranberries, and avocado finished off the meal.

3. World Wide Wednesday – Spain: How to Make Paella With Seafood

Paella is a peasant dish named after the pan it’s cooked in. That pan, standing on four legs, has a flat bottom, is round and several inches deep. A fire is built beneath the pan with twigs for as long as the food needs to be cooked. As long as the basis of the dish with whole foods is rice, paella can contain a huge variety of ingredients. Perhaps the best-known outside of Spain is seafood paella.

Not having a paella pan, use a flat bottomed skillet. Cook on a grill for an authentic touch or use the stovetop and oven. Paella is too much work for less than four people. This recipe uses cooked brown rice instead of the traditional white rice. If you want the traditional dish with whole foods, cook the rice as you cook the chicken, adding broth as needed

Four Servings

1 whole free-range, organic chicken breast about 8 ounces

½ pound wild-caught shrimp peeled and deveined 

4 cups cooked brown rice 

1 onion

1 cup each of green, red, and yellow sweet peppers

2 cloves of garlic

1 large tomato

1 cup vegetable broth 

Cilantro

Parsley

2 cups peas

¼ cup olive oil

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pan placed on medium heat. When the oil is just starting to haze, brown the chicken, cut into 4 pieces. Remove the chicken from the pan when brown. Add the finely chopped onion. Cut the green, red, and yellow sweet peppers in strips and two cloves of minced garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about three to five minutes. 

Add one chopped large tomato. Put the chicken back in the pan. Add the vegetable broth and the cooked brown rice. Chop a quarter cup each of cilantro and parsley. Add those plus two cups of frozen peas. Stir. Place the seafood on top of the rice mixture and push it down into the rice and broth. Simmer over low heat until the shrimp is cooked through. About 5 to 10 minutes.

You may have noticed that saffron has been left out of this not-so-classic paella version. That’s simply because saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Saffron is the pollen from the fall-blooming saffron crocus. Spanish peasants would not have had access to such a delicacy. In some ways, paella without saffron is more authentic than one with saffron. If you want the intense yellow coloring to add a teaspoon of turmeric.

4. Six Layer Casserole

Layers of potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and a green veggie are topped with ground bulgar wheat and seasoned with herbs and spices. Your family won’t even miss the meat. 

Six Servings 

1 cup bulgur wheat

4 large potatoes

 6 carrots

 6 stalks celery

 1 bunch of greens (chard, kale or spinach)

 2 large onions

2 teaspoons each onion and garlic powder

 Vegetable oil

 Seasonings

 2 cups liquid, chicken broth, vegetable broth, wine or water.

Scrub the vegetables and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Coat the bottom of an ovenproof pot with oil. Spread the bulgur wheat over the pan in an even layer. Layer all the vegetables except the onions into the pot. Sprinkle with onion and garlic powder, dried parsley, thyme, and a pinch of rosemary. Go easy on the rosemary since it can overpower the other flavors. Salt and pepper this whole foods dish to taste. 

End with the layer of onions.  

Pour the liquid over the casserole. Place in a preheated 450-degree oven. Wait 15 minutes then lower to 350. Cover. 

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. 

5. Fun Friday

It’s the end of the week and time to party — or at least have a little fun. Chicken wings fill the bill. Change up the traditional accompaniments of carrot and celery sticks into a salad. The wings are baked rather than fried. Serve this whole foods dish with no-sugar-added ketchup spiced up dipping sauce for the adventuresome and a cheesy garlic dip for those who prefer cooler sauces. 

Four Servings

4 pounds of chicken wings. This may seem like a lot but chicken wings are mostly bone with not a lot of meat. 

½ cup lime juice

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder

Combine the wings, lime juice, and powders into a plastic zipper-lock bag. Marinate overnight or at least four hours. You could put this together before you leave for work. 

Shake off the wings. Pat dry with paper towels. The dry wings will crisp up better than wet wings, but both are tasty. 

Spray a baking pan with cooking oil. Put the wings on the pan in a single layer not touching. You may have to use more than one pan. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven until nicely browned about 30 minutes.

Sorta Caesar Carrot and Celery Salad

6 medium carrots

4 large stalks celery

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Grate the carrots and celery. Add to the other ingredients. You’re done.  

Sauces

Add ¼ teaspoon or more to ½ cup of your favorite no-sugar-added ketchup

Add ½ teaspoon fresh grated garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese to ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup apple or orange juice. 

 6. Souper Saturday – Fiesta Corn and Tomato Soup

It’s fast, easy, and very satisfying. A great soup that takes advantage of fresh summer sweet corn and juicy ripe tomatoes. Use vegetable broth to convert this into a vegan whole foods dish. You could add cubes of turkey breast if you wish.

Four Servings

1 onion

1 green sweet pepper

1 red sweet pepper

1 poblano pepper spoons olive oil. 

2 cloves garlic

¼ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon each cumin and dried oregano

3 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn

2 large tomatoes or 2 boxes cherry tomatoes

4 cups vegetable broth

Chop the onion, green pepper, poblano, and red pepper into 1/2 chunks. Sauté in a couple of tablespoons of virgin olive oil for about five minutes, over medium heat, until the onions are translucent and tender but not brown. Add two cloves of crushed garlic, a teaspoon each of cumin and dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. If you like spicy food increase the cayenne pepper.

Add the fresh corn kernels, frozen can be used as well. Sautéing brings out the sweetness of the corn and enhances its flavor. While the corn is cooking, roughly chop two large tomatoes. Add to the pan with four cups of vegetable broth. Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve this whole foods dish with restaurant-style corn chips and a squeeze of lime. Add a salad of sliced cucumbers and jicama tossed with lime juice, fresh cilantro, and salt and pepper.

7. Splendid Sunday Dinner

Sunday has finally arrived — a day of rest and relaxation. You don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen but you still want to serve this whole foods dish your family a special dinner. Stuffed turkey breast with an Italian flare is elegant and oh so good. 

1 pound organic turkey breast

1 bunch spinach

1 onion

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons each fresh parsley, oregano, and basil

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)

2 tablespoons Romano cheese (optional)

1 pound new potatoes

1 pound baby carrots

Lay the turkey breast flat and pound to no more than ½ inch thick, thinner is better. Try to keep the breast in an oval shape. It will be easier to roll up. 

Finely chop the onion and garlic. 

Chop the spinach into ribbons. Place in the microwave for about 1 minute so the spinach wilts. It takes up less space that way. 

Combine the parsley, oregano, basil, and lemon zest. Reserve half of the mixture. 

Combine the spinach, onion, garlic, and herbs. 

Place the flattened turkey breast on a clean towel. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the breast. Sprinkle the cheeses over the spinach, Roll up tightly using the towel to help. Tie the roast with string or fasten with toothpicks.

Brush the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Place the roast in the pan. Surround with the potatoes and carrots. 

Bake in a 375-degree oven until a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees about 45 minutes. The meat should be white and the juices clear. If you have to cut into the roast towards the center to check. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing. 

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Whole Foods Meal recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole week.

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